Lost in Suburbia: The new fish in town

Tracy Beckerman

Even though I have a less-than-stellar track record in terms of keeping goldfish alive, when a dear friend announced that she was moving to England and asked me to take her fish, I said OK. I was quick to warn her that goldfish do not tend to live long in my house, hence my nickname, “The Fish Killer.” She assured me that her goldfish was quite hearty and had survived two inquisitive children and a bloodthirsty cat, so she was not worried about whatever dangers lurked in my household. However, when I announced to my family that we would be opening our hearts and our home to a new goldfish, they all rolled their eyes.

“Just what you need; another fish to kill,” my husband said.

“Belinda assured me this fish could stand the rigors of our fish tank,” I protested.

“We’ll see. Besides, do you really want another animal to take care of, honey?”

I sighed. “Big deal. One more little fish.  I don’t think I’ll even notice him in the tank.”

“Yeah, especially since he’ll be dead in a week - Fish Killer,” he said, under his breath. I glowered at him.

In anticipation of the new fish’s arrival, I cleaned out our fish tank and bought some more fish food. As it turned out, we were out of town when my friend moved, so the fish was foster-cared by another neighbor until we got back.

Two days later I got a phone call from the neighbor.

“Is it OK if I drop Belinda’s fish off to you today?” she asked, sounding, I thought, a bit anxious to make the exchange.

“Sure,” I said brightly. “Any time that is convenient for you.”

Five minutes later my doorbell rang.

I’m sure the neighbor was standing there, but I couldn’t see her because she was blocked by an enormous fish tank. And in the fish tank was the biggest dang goldfish I have ever seen in my life. It was the size of 10 goldfish mashed together. It was Goldzilla.

“What is THAT?!” I asked, pointing at the mega-fish.

“This is Morgan Stanley,” said the neighbor from behind the fish tank. “It is Belinda’s goldfish.”

“That’s not a goldfish,” I protested. “That’s a whale.”

“Well, whatever it is, I think it’s hungry,” she said, thrusting the tank into my arms and waving as she skipped away.

I struggled with the weight of the tank and finally dumped it on the kitchen counter next to the other fish tank. Looking at Moby Goldfish, I quickly negated the plan to add him to my existing fish tank because I was pretty sure he would make lunch out of my other fish.

“Looks like your staying in your own tank, fella,” I said to the fish. He bared his teeth at me. Teeth?  What kind of crazy goldfish have teeth? This was like the pit bulls of goldfish. Now I understood why Belinda was confident I wouldn’t kill this fish. I was pretty sure, given the chance, it would kill me.

They say keep your friends close and your enemies closer, so I decided to see if I could win Morgan Stanley over.

I grabbed his fish food and tilted it over the water. “Here fishy-fishy,” I called sweetly. The fish raced to the top. As I crumbled the food into the tank, he jumped up and nearly took off my finger.

“Piranha!” I yelled, pulling my hand back.

That night when my husband got home, I announced that our adoptive fish had arrived.

He peered into our old fish tank. “Which one is it?” he asked.

I grabbed his arm and steered him over to the tank with the uber-fish in it.

“This is the new fish,” I said. “His name is Morgan Stanley.”

“Holy cow,” he exclaimed. “What have they been feeding that thing?”

“Um, fingers, I think.”

Tracy also blogs for “The Balancing Act” on Lifetime Television. To cast your vote for Tracy for America’s Top Blogger, go to